Monday, September 8, 2014

12 Astounding Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Use Social Media Marketing

photo credit: Jason A. Howie via photopin cc
This is a really great rundown on why small- to mid-sized businesses need to take social media seriously, by Tim O'Malley from LinkedIn.

A few points that jumped out for me:

"68% of Facebook users say a recommendation from a Facebook friend would make them more likely to buy a specific product or visit a certain retailer."

"In this day of monstrous CPMs and fragmented media, why continue to rent your audiences by running newspaper and radio ads when you can buy your own highly targeted audience comprised of your best prospects through social media? Sure, it takes time to build, but like any good asset, it is worth the investment."

"Use social monitoring tools and research to find out what your customers are saying about your business. Successful businesses use this valuable information to enhance customer relationships and business."

And here's something I want to find out more about, because what I hear a LOT about from local businesses is how difficult it is to find good help: 

“92% of companies use social media for recruitment. 73% of companies hired successfully through social media.”

~ Catharine

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By Tim O'Malley

Are you a small or mid-sized business (SMB) trying to figure out the real value of social media for your organization?

Is your SMB trying to figure out why in the blazes to use social media marketing at all?
Well, in a word, the answer is: results! Businesses are flocking to the social media-sphere in droves. According to LinkedIn, nine in 10 SMBs use or plan to use social media. Ninety-four percent use social media for marketing. Seventy-three percent use social media and social ads. What’s more, half of SMBs have increased their spend on social media compared to the previous year, higher than that of any other marketing channel. Why? Here is a quick list of social media marketing benefits for small businesses:

1. Social media drives new business and increases sales –

  • According to Crowdspring, 50% of small business owners reported the gain of new customers through social media, most notably through Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • According to LinkedIn, “82% report that it is effective for lead generation.”
  • HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing says that, “77% of B2C and 43% of B2B companies say they’ve acquired customers through Facebook.”

2. Social media marketing increases awareness –

  • “100% of business decision-makers use social media for work purposes,” according to Forrester.
  • 68% of consumers check out companies on social networking sites before buying.”
  • According to iMedia, “70% of marketers say that [social media] content marketing has increased their brand awareness.”
Read the rest of this article on LinkedIn.

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Symblème Services Online
315 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101
719-937-1815

Social Media | Blogging | Content Creation | Local SEO
Bringing 21st Century Word-of-Mouth Marketing to the San Luis Valley

Thursday, September 4, 2014

12 Mind-Blowing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know

Using the Inter-net to land the big one!
photo credit: jayhuff via photopin cc 
If you run a small business, and you think that the Internet is something with which you catch fish, then here are some statistical fishing flies that might open your eyes as to how social media and blogging can help you land great clients and customers!

(Like my pun-ology? Thought you might. :-)

Even though this article was published in 2011 and the data might be a bit old, I'm willing to bet that the numbers haven't really shifted that much. In fact, if anything, in the past three years, the numbers have probably shifted in favor of social media and blogging, not the other way around!

Here are a few stats that caught my attention. (Okay, I'm done now. Really.)

Enjoy!

~ Catharine

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By Marta Kagan


It's no secret that the marketing landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years as social and mobile technologies have gone from early-adopter novelties to mainstream essentials.

Still, there are plenty of traditional marketing stalwarts out there who aren't buying all of the social media hype or can't convince their boss or marketing team to experiment in the brave new world of inbound marketing .

So we've rounded up a dozen powerful stats that are sure to be eye-openers, if not total mind-changers.

1. 78% of Internet users conduct product research online.

That means your website stands a good chance of being a prospect's "first impression." That also means your new business card isn't a business card—it's Google.


2. In the past year, Web-based email usage dropped a staggering 59% among 12-17 year olds, who prefer to communicate via text, instant messaging, and social networks.

If 12-17 year olds aren't your primary customers, you may think, "So what? They're just kids." But web-based email usage has been on the decline among ALL Internet users under the age of 55. And by the way, today's kids are tomorrow's customers—and they're probably not going to be reading your email.

...

9. 41% of B2B companies and 67% of B2C companies have acquired a customer through Facebook.

If this stat doesn't poke a hole in the "Facebook is not useful for B2B companies" myth, I don't know what will.
...

11. Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic. 

The more you blog, the more pages Google has to index, and the more inbound links you're likely to have. The more pages and inbound links you have, the higher you rank on search engines like Google—thus the greater amount of traffic to your website. Which is why we repeat: Blogging is good.

Read the rest of the mind-blowing statistics here

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Symblème Services Online
315 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101
719-937-1815

Social Media | Blogging | Content Creation | Local SEO
Bringing 21st Century Word-of-Mouth Marketing to the San Luis Valley

Monday, September 1, 2014

My first-ever interview on a Google Hangout On Air!!


I have a background in radio, so I've hosted other people on my show, but this'll be the first time I've ever been a guest on someone ELSE's show!

John Jurkiewicz is a life/business/career consultant from rural Kentucky. He's a terrific guy, very supportive, and has made me laugh my ass off through this whole process. He'll be interviewing me about the ups and downs of my employee-to-entrepreneur journey to date.

If you'd like to "listen in", click below to join Google Plus (if you haven't already), and mark your calendars for Wednesday evening at 7 PM MST.

(Okay, now, having told you all about this, I'm REALLY nervous...I hope I don't pee my pants or puke or do anything stupid...)

Click here to do whatcha gotta do to listen in! If you need help with this process, gimme a shout.

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Symblème Services Online
315 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101
719-937-1815

Social Media | Blogging | Content Creation | Local SEO
Bringing 21st Century Word-of-Mouth Marketing to the San Luis Valley

Thursday, August 28, 2014

New Research on Word-of-Mouth Marketing

We all know that social media is roaring to the forefront of word-of-mouth marketing. But how does one gain a good reputation online?

One way is by offering stellar customer service. New studies are finding that over 70% of social networking with businesses revolve around customer service. People are asking questions and seeking advice via social media, and they want solutions to their problems in real time, on social media. Nobody wants to wade through automated phone systems, wait on hold, or be fobbed off on the appropriate department for problem-solving, and most people want responses to their tweets or posts within an hour!

Social media has become the new forum for customer service.

Here's more from Social Media Examiner:

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By Kiera Stein

Do you want people to tell their friends about your business?

Are you getting positive word of mouth?

New research shows that word-of-mouth marketing has grown exponentially on social media.

In this article you’ll discover three ways you can encourage customers to tell their friends about you.

#1: Customer Service Tips the Scales


Mention.com analyzed 1 billion brand mentions in a recent study. What they found is somewhat surprising: 76% of brand mentions on the web and social media are neither positive nor negative.

What does this mean? On social media, neutral mentions blend into the background. When 76% of brand mentions are basically ignored, the positive and negative mentions stand out.

So how can you turn a neutral into a positive? One way is to provide excellent customer service. Use your website and other platforms to let customers know they can find you on social media when they have customer service needs.

#2: Easy Sharing Encourages Social Proof


Are you more likely to go to a new restaurant because the restaurant claims it has good food or because a trusted friend says it’s worth trying? There’s an implicit level of trust in any friendship that can’t be replicated between brand and consumer—this extends to purchasing behavior.

Conversations with friends and family are the most trusted source of information for consumers—and brands know it. eMarketer reports that brands view social sharing as the most effective use of social media.

According to research firm eMarketer, 68% of U.S. social media users ages 18-34 and 53% of those ages 35-44 say they are at least somewhat likely to make a purchase based on a friend’s social media updates.

When your customers share positive opinions and experiences on social media, it increases your credibility among potential customers in a way you, as a business, can’t. Social proof is a clear motivator.

Read the complete article here


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Symblème Services Online
315 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101
719-937-1815

Social Media | Blogging | Content Creation | Local SEO

Bringing 21st Century Word-of-Mouth Marketing to the San Luis Valley

Monday, August 25, 2014

Attentive Listening and Empathy Maps: Finding Out Where Your Customers Hurt

Preacher or Salesman? Dunno, but he looks damned good in orange!
photo credit: 
MissTessmacher via photopin cc
I had the privilege to attend my first-ever Google Hangout with some terrific folks on Saturday, notably the author of this blog and this Crowdfunding guru.

The topic of the Hangout proved to be attentive listening -- and how we, as marketers, need to do more of it.

One tends not to think of marketers as being particularly empathetic. Psychotherapists, priests, ministers, and even parents have a much higher rating on the "empathy meter" in most peoples' minds than marketers.

This perception is not unjustified; we don't pretend to be doing anything more altruistic than figuring out ways to get people to buy our stuff, or our clients's stuff if we're working for someone else. We work for money, pure and simple.

Never mind that priests, therapists, and ministers all work for money, too. And not all parents are particularly empathetic. But that's beside the point.

We, as marketers and businesspeople, must be empathetic, because empathy sells.

Our ability to get inside our customers' heads and figure out what they want and need affects our bottom line We need to figure out what hurts, what itches. Then we need to figure out how to relieve that hurt or itch and sell the remedy to them. That's our job.

We can't do this without listening to what our customers have to say.

Listening, by its very nature, makes us very empathetic. Without empathy, we end up sounding like the stereotypical used car salesman who can't leave his job at work. Pretty soon, people start avoiding him, stop inviting him over for dinner...and ultimately stop buying his cars.

Attentive listening both requires and engenders empathy.

So we marketers need to work on talking less and listening more. Not an easy task for most of us when we are passionate about what we are selling.

Empathy maps are one way to help us "listen to" our customers' minds. Below is a great article from Copyblogger on empathy maps.

What do YOUR customers want and need? What are their pains and itches? How do you offer them relief?

~ Catharine

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By Demian Farnworth

Jack Ungulate is a strange bird.

When he drinks beer, he licks his index and middle finger, swipes the bottle opening, and then pauses, with the bottle raised to his mouth, before turning it upside down.

Each time, every time.

He also has a routine with his steel-toe boots. The left one must go on first, then the right. But he takes them off in reverse.

And then there’s his ritual when buying large ticket items like a car: he sends his wife to the lot while he sits in the garage, waiting for her to call.

When people talk to him about saving for his children’s college fund, he quickly cuts them off to inform them there is no fund because he’d prefer to cultivate a sense of ownership by encouraging them to pay their own way through school.

He enjoys the scowls that appear on their faces.

As he methodically replaces a defective steam gauge on a heating system, he thinks about his father and why they never talk. Then he contemplates how he’s going to break it to his own son that he won’t be able to make it to his kayak competition that evening because he has to cover a co-worker’s night shift.

The overtime, however, will go towards their trip to Cancun in April. That should ease the sting.

Clearly, Jack is not so much strange as he is just complex. Like most humans. And all of your customers.

Read the full article here.

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Symblème Services Online
315 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101
719-937-1815

Social Media | Blogging | Content Creation | Local SEO

Bringing 21st Century Word-of-Mouth Marketing to the San Luis Valley

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Password Life Hack: How This Man Changed His Life

Okay, so this isn't exactly an online marketing tip, but it was just so darn cool I couldn't resist sharing it with you.

Talk about finding everyday opportunities to make things better!

I think I'll go and change all of my passwords now ... how about you?

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Mauricio Estrella
The author, who changed his password...and his life.
By Mauricio Estrella
...
As the input field with the pulsating cursor was waiting for me to type a password — something I’d use many times during every day — I remembered a tip I heard from my former boss.
And I decided: I’m gonna use a password to change my life.
It was obvious that I couldn’t focus on getting things done with my current lifestyle and mood. Of course, there were clear indicators of what I needed to do — or what I had to achieve — in order to regain control of my life, but we often don’t pay attention to these clues.

My password became the indicator. My password reminded me that I shouldn’t let myself be victim of my recent break up, and that I’m strong enough to do something about it. 
My password became: “Forgive@h3r”
Read the full article here

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Symblème Services Online
315 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101
719-937-1815

Social Media | Blogging | Content Creation | Local SEO

Bringing 21st Century Word-of-Mouth Marketing to the San Luis Valley

Monday, August 18, 2014

Can We Really Trust Offshore SEO?

In my opinion, opting for offshore/cheap anything is a bad idea. It sends a message to your customers that:

1. You're cheap
2. You're struggling for money
3. You're trying to maximize your profits by exploiting slave labor.

It's ... well, it's just bad juju.

Besides, have you SEEN the english in some of these SEO spam messages? Do you really think that the English in behind-the-scenes SEO is going to be any better than the English in the spam?

Do you want to come across to your customers as prime rib or McDonald's?

Obviously, this is just my not-so-humble opinion. But what do YOU think?

~ Catharine

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Should you outsource your SEO offshore?
If you are considering outsourcing SEO then where to go will be one of the considerations. With all of the email spam for low cost SEO you may be tempted to send your SEO work to a low cost offshore resource. However before you risk your business in the hands of unknown offshore companies you should seriously consider all of the options. 

At Red Alien we receive emails daily from so called ‘SEO’ offshore teams and companies wanting to partner with us or offering to take SEO work off our hands for small fees. With SEO being comprised of such an array of complex procedures many of which draw a fall into the realms of black hat SEO would you be confident with such an important service being managed from thousands of miles away from overworked, low paid individuals? We wouldn’t!


It is very difficult to tell who are the legit companies amongst the pirates out there especially when your only communication is a yahoo/gmail email and rarely even a company name. Responding to this type of email spam nearly always leads to disappointment.



By Zak Jacobs
Read the complete article here: http://www.redalien.co.uk/seo/think-carefully-using-offshore-seo/

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Symblème Services Online
315 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101
719-937-1815

Social Media | Blogging | Content Creation | Local SEO

Bringing 21st Century Word-of-Mouth Marketing to the San Luis Valley